OneDrive for Business | Restore is not Restore


Delete a file and Restore

Again and again, experienced administrators can be confused with a simple scenario. This scenario is about a simple Word document, which is saved in a folder of user A in his OneDrive for Business. Then user A shares the folder! with user B of the same tenant. This user synchronizes the folder on his device. So both can now work on the Word document. Collaboration without looking for the link every time. Working offline is also possible. User B accidentally deletes this document.

What are the options for restoring the document?
Can user B do this himself?
Will the versioning be preserved?

Too fast?
Then everything again in individual steps and explanations

  1. User A creates a Word document.
  2. He saves this in folder demo on OneDrive for Business.
  3. He shares this folder with user B.
  4. User B opens the folder in a browser.
  5. User B synchronizes the folder.
  6. Users B and A edit the document multiple times

As can be seen in the picture, the Word document exists in three different places:

  • On user A’s device
  • In OneDrive for Bsuiness of user A
  • On user B’s device

and now to scenario:

What Happens When User B Deletes the Document?

Well, there are many ways to delete a document. Let’s take the simplest. We switch to Windows File Explorer, select the document and press the Delete key. We assume that the file is in the “Locally available” or “Always available on this device” state.

Then several things happen:

  1. For user B, the document is moved to the local recycle bin.
  2. B’s sync client informs the cloud location of the deletion.
  3. The document is deleted in User A‘s OneDrive for Business.
  4. The document is moved from A’s ODFB to the ODFB Recycle Bin (with history!)
  5. All other devices are informed, this is only user A.
  6. User A‘s device moves the document to the local recycle bin.

We now have the document in three places:

  • in the trash of the device of user A
  • in the recycle bin of user B’s device
  • in the trash from user A for One

Restoring the polluter, User B through this, is not the right solution. As described above, the document has been edited by both users. So there are several versions. Maybe you need a previous version?

However, restoring the document from user B’s recycle bin immediately prompts the user B to save the document with a new name. It can be seen that the document was stored in a synchronized area. So why not check the OneDrive for Business trash? The solution is very simple: Because the user only has rights for the Demo folder. So that doesn’t work

User B must there force exchange information with User A, please restore the document. User A can now restore the document from the trash. He gets the same hint. He should save the document with a new name. The operating system (or the sync client) recognizes that this is a synchronized area, but does not check whether this file is in the OneDrive for Business recycle bin. Microsoft: Why not?

The only correct solution (currently) remains:

User B informs User A of the accidental deletion. User A switches to the browser of his OneDrive for Business, switches to the trash there and clicks on Restore. The file is moved to the original location, with basking meta data, including versioning. And then synchronized to the original devices of users A and B.


The scenario can get even more complicated with OneDrive for Business. When there are more devices and / or more users in the game. It looks different when we talk about SharePoint online libraries. Because members can access the trash from there.

Quite simple, actually. It was easy with the network drives. But they knew neither metadata nor versioning. And these are becoming increasingly important.

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  1. 16. September 2020 um 16:58
  2. 29. März 2020 um 15:29

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